Some people say that Bali is overrated, too touristy and not worth to visit while some say it is one of the best experience in their travels. I guess it all depends on how you would enjoy Bali. Not only that it is popular in its own right, with post eat, pray, love, is there still the Bali that started it all?
Regardless, as time has passed, and places may have grown, Bali is still what it is, somewhat but not quite. If you can look past the many tourists especially during the peak season and enjoy instead the many attractions dotted around specifically catered for tourists, you might just fall in love with Bali.
Bali deserves the attention it is getting still, and our top 10 must visit places list is enough to show why you should still travel to Bali.
Imagine a large rugged limestone cliff with a temple perched on it, almost like a scene from cliffhanger, to add to it’s dramatic grandeur. Uluwatu Temple, a truly must visit in Bali, is also known as Pura Luhur. It is situated in the island commonly known as Bukit Peninsula, which houses Bali’s few best beaches like Balangan and many good surfing spots. The temple is itself a majestic structure, constructed and expanded many times since in the 11th Century. It is perched at the steep cliff of 70 meters above the Indian ocean. If you go on even higher grounds nearby, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of either side and sunset over Uluwatu temple itself.
Another majestic rock formation lays as a foundation of a popular pilgrimage temple, known as Pura Tanah Lot. It is most popular for its serenity and cultural significance as it is associated with the Balinese mythology as one of the seven temples that form a ring in the southwest of Bali. A travel tip is to visit the place during the low tide so that you can “walk across the water” to the temple for the full experience.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bali’s temple by the lake)
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is another must visit temple in Bali, where unlike the rest perching on the cliff rock, this one is serenely resting at the edge of Lake Bratan. Imagine beautifully structured temple with double the beauty due to its reflection on the clear lake.
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Dolphin sightings at Lovina
Lovina is one of the best place in Bali to make dolphin sighting boat trip. You will leave the beach at dawn to seek for the dolphins, though yes it may be quite crowded with other tourists trying to do the same especially during peak season, it is still well worth it when you find a school of dolphins happily jumping by. Lovina itself also offers many other attractions, activities and even boasts some backpacker scenes where you can chill out in cafes with live music.
Yes, despite that one might be trying to escape the “eat, pray, love” trail, Ubud is one place you cannot miss in your visit. It is still the heart of Bali, where all the action is and all the people and energy are focused on. Ubud is packed and condensed with the best of Bali, ranging from nature, culture and people, temples, museums, rolling rice/paddy fields and man-made gardens and parks. You may take an interesting bike tour around here or take up cooking, adventure activities like whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities, relax with yoga and meditation or have some pampering sessions of spa and massage, also enjoy the arts and theatres and not to forget the shopping. Just so you see, Ubud has a little bit of everything for almost everyone.
Party at Kuta Beach
Kuta is the most popular beach in Bali, which means you can be sure to find the life and party scene here in Kuta Beach. Head here if you are looking to socialize, party and have a good time. You can be sure to find a range of places for different atmosphere and budget, ranging from Hard Rock cafe to your neighborhood cafe and pub.
Private beach at Nusa Dua Beach
If you have a bit more of a budget to spare, splurge at Nusa Dua beach, where it is dotted with higher end hotels and resorts. You will be rewarded with private pristine beaches for you to slowly soak in the sun and the sea. Nusa Dua is also ideal for honeymooners or people looking out for a private and relaxing getaway.
Hike/Climb Mount Batur at Kintamani
Up in a highland in East of Bali, there lies Mount Batur caldera in Kintamani. A climb to the summit (1700 meters) of this active volcano is a great experience for any active travelers. Many would do the sunrise hike for an ultimate experience, starting from as early as 4 am to reach in time for the 6 am sunrise. This hike is relatively easy and the treks are quite well marked. From the peak of the mountain, there are views in all direction to sweep you off your feet, not literally of course.
Ayana bar on rocks
We had two temples on the cliff, and now we get to drink off a bar perched on yet another cliff at Ayana bar resort * in Bali. This bar is known as the best bar in Bali, having a long line of people daily trying to get in and have a drink or two with some bites (which is surprisingly good) while overlooking the sea crashing into the rocks below. Think about drinking, chilling and also dancing atop a cliff with the roaring sea stretching behind you to infinity while you watch white water crashed onto the side of the wall creating a spectacular natural show. If you decide which is the one bar you must go to in Bali, Ayana bar on the rocks is the place. You may get special access to the bar as a guest of Ayana Resort and Spa or RIMBA Jimbaran by Ayana *.
Coffee plantation at Bali Pulina Agro Tourism
An almost zen place for you to sit back and really appreciate your cup of coffee while overlooking the coffee plantation as far as the eye can see. Here you are served with various coffee and tea for tasting. You can also see the process of how the famous and expensive Kopi Luwak are made and even the civet cats themselves. If you are a coffee lover, do come check this place out for the ultimate coffee experience.
So you have it, ten reasons to visit Bali and these are just the highlights. Now you know the reason behind Bali’s popularity, so maybe people can just be right sometimes. Come over with an open heart and open arms, a huge ounce of patience and tolerance for the crowd, close an eye to all the touristy things glaring at you and just enjoy yourself here. If all else fail, you can always jump on the next available fast boat and escape to Gili Islands or its rival Lombok!
Best Accommodations in BaliBooking.com is my favourite site to book a place Bali when I am planning my trip. The main reason is that most of the bookings can be cancelled right up to the trip, allowing flexibility. Here are a few of the best accommodations that we recommend to stay in Bali:
- Luxury (from 150 USD)
- The Oberoi, Seminyak
For those who are looking for privacy and to splurge for a honeymoon or special occasions. With quick access to Seminyak beach, this Balinese inspired accommodation is built on 15 acres of tropical gardens. The Frangipani Cafe inside here is famed for its cuisine. Notable are their open-air massage pavilions and outdoor pool overlooking the ocean. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
- Tandjung Resort, Sanur
For those who appreciate traditional architectures and design. This hotel, built way back in 1962, encapsulates the Balinese style and spirit. Among the spacious gardens are thatched roofed bungalows, pavilions, sculptures and fish ponds. It also has direct access to the Sanur beach. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
- Mid-range (50 – 150 USD)
- Resort Courtyard by Marriott Bali, Seminyak
Marriott is a trusted brand for many and this one in Bali lives up to its name. This secured luxury is located just 5 minutes walk to Seminyak beach. A noted feature is its private terraces for relaxation, hence making it a favourite of couples. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
Sri Ratih Cottage, Ubud
For those who is looking for unpretentious comfort with Balinese charm. Located in Ubud, our favourite place to stay in Bali, the Balinese style cottages with carved wood furnishings are set in beautiful gardens with a pool. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
- Budget (below 50 USD)
- Nick’s Pension, Ubud
For those who are seeking a mixture of peace and action in the heart of Bali – Ubud. The rooms come with traditional Indonesia architecture and air-condition. There are also a swimming pool, restaurant, Wifi and parking provided. Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
- Linda Villa, Sanur
For the budget conscious, this guesthouse in Sanur is a steal, featuring swimming pools, clean air-conditioned rooms and a simple breakfast. It is located at a quiet place with only 15 minutes easy walk to the beach. Prices starting from only 24 USD! Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
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